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Air Force to cut 297 positions in Alaska, Hawaii, Guam

Pacific Air Force bases in Hawaii, Alaska and Guam will lose 207 military and 90 civilian positions as part of the Air Force’s force structure realignments.

“Many of these positions were previously announced as part of PACAF’s Balance the Books action earlier this year,” PACAF spokesman Maj. James Law said Thursday.

Reductions at the three PACAF bases are part of the Air Force’s fiscal year 2004 realignments affecting the operating locations of people, aircraft and organizations throughout the United States.

Also targeted for retirement: 20 C-9A Nightingale medical evacuation aircraft, including four assigned to Yokota Air Base, west of Tokyo.

Law said the C-9A is being retired because fewer patients need transportation and because, while the plane’s range is limited, its operation and maintenance costs are increasing. The aircraft are expected to be taken from service during fiscal year 2004.

Earlier this year, tests were conducted at Osan Air Base, South Korea, and at Misawa and Yokota Air Bases, Japan, with a KC-135 tanker aircraft configured as a medical evacuation aircraft. Air Force officials have said the tankers are expected to serve as an interim medical evacuation aircraft.

Aimed at improving the service’s highest-priority mission requirements, force structure realignment resulted in a total decrease of 5,099 authorized positions at Air Force bases throughout the United States including the Alaska, Hawaii and Guam bases, according to PACAF.

Of the nationwide decreases, 2,260 are military; 2,839, civilian. Also affected: 1,055 drill authorizations — weekend reservists and Air National Guardsmen.

Law said while military positions will be decreased through routine military reassignments, “Civilians may be reassigned to other bases, leave through attrition, or be eligible for a variety of placement options.”

Affected civilian workers will be offered registration in the Defense Department’s Priority Placement Program, voluntary early retirement or separation pay, an 18-month extension of health benefits for those given involuntary job separations and information about the federal Interagency Placement Program.

Other services include the Defense Outplacement Referral System, job fairs, retraining programs, resume workshops, transition assistance and career transition assistance available through base family support centers.

Law said Hawaii’s Hickam Air Force Base also announced a reduction in force, or RIF, of its civilian work force Wednesday. That personnel action affects approximately 150 civilian employees, of which approximately 37 may lose their jobs.

A PACAF news release said force reduction is a structured, orderly process through which employees are separated, changed to a lower grade or otherwise reassigned.

It’s used to balance the number of employees with the number of funded positions.

“The Air Force is committed to mitigating the impact these changes have on our people,” Law said. “Therefore, unfunded and unfilled manpower authorizations were eliminated first.”

Because of this, the actual number of those who will lose their jobs may be lower than the number of authorizations affected by the announcement.

The exact number of those unfilled and unfunded positions varies by base, Law said.


Base-by-base changes

Here’s a base-by-base look at the changes in the Pacific:

Alaska

Clear Air Force Station

The 13th Space Warning Squadron loses 39 military authorizations.

Eielson Air Force Base

The 354th Fighter Wing loses 38 military positions and 34 civilian positions as a result of work-force shaping.

The 354th Fighter Wing loses 13 military positions. The application of the manpower standard for commander support staffs in the 354th Fighter Wing results in a reduction of 10 military and one civilian position. Other minor actions result in a decrease of seven military and an increase of five civilian positions.

Elmendorf Air Force Base

The 11th Air Force loses six civilian positions.

The 3rd Wing loses 77 military positions and 52 civilian positions.

The 3rd Services Squadron gains 15 civilian positions.

The 3rd Civil Engineer Squadron converted 28 enlisted positions to civilian. The application of the manpower standard for commander support staffs in the 3rd Wing results in a reduction of four military and one civilian position.

The 381st Intelligence Squadron loses five military positions.

The 732nd Air Mobility Squadron gains eight military positions. Other minor actions result in a decrease of eight military positions.

Guam

Andersen Air Force Base

The 36th Air Base Wing loses seven military positions and 15 civilian positions.

The 36th Civil Engineer Squadron converts 12 enlisted positions to civilians.

The 613th Contingency Response Squadron gains 70 military positions. Other minor actions result in a decrease of two military authorizations.

Hawaii

Hickam Air Force Base

Headquarters Pacific Air Forces loses 60 military positions.

Pacific Air Forces field operating agencies lose four military positions and six civilian positions.

The 15th Airlift Wing loses 16 military positions and 72 civilian positions. The application of manpower standards for the 15th Airlift Wing results in a reduction of five military and eleven civilian positions.

The 15th Airlift Wing loses 20 military and four civilian positions.

The 15th Civil Engineer Squadron converts seven enlisted positions to civilian.

The 15th Medical Group loses seven military authorizations.

The activation of the Pacific Air Forces Air Operations Center results in an increase of 109 military positions.

HQ Pacific Air Forces converts 12 rated officers to civilians. The theater patient movement and recovery cell transfer results in an increase of 14 military positions.

The 735th Air Mobility Operations Squadron loses eight military authorizations. Other minor actions result in a decrease of eight military and an increase of 22 civilian positions.

Kaena Point

Detachment 4, 22nd Space Operations Squadron loses two military and one civilian authorization.

Kunia City

The 324th Intelligence Squadron loses nine military authorizations.

Maui

Detachment 12, Air Force Research Laboratory, gains 12 civilian authorizations.

– Wayne Specht

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